Define Natural Cosmetics
What is your definition of natural cosmetics?
The formulator and business needs to have clarity on their vision for the product, the market and the consumer and define natural. The range of ingredients used in natural and organic products are vast.
There is no definition in the cosmetic market for natural. It can mean anything, therefore, the formulator and business must define their definition of ‘natural’ body, hair and skin care products. The definition of the word natural from the Merriam Webster dictionary is, “existing in nature and not made or caused by people: coming from nature: not having any extra substances or chemicals added: not containing anything artificial.” The common word used in defining natural is “artificial”.
The definition of artificial is, “not natural or real: made, produced, or done to seem like something natural: not happening or existing naturally: created or caused by people.”
From the FDA on food: “What is the meaning of ‘natural’ on the label of food? From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.”
I do a lot of research on ingredients and the methods used to process them and the effect this process has on people, animals and the earth. But, with proprietary processes and non-disclosure of the processes and ingredients it is hard in the cosmetic industry to know this information. Read this post on emulsifiers and vegetable emulsifying wax and why it is not considered natural and this post on the INCI name of emulsifying wax. I believe strongly in ‘Beauty without Cruelty’. For more information on this topic, see the blog posts on our website Beauty without Cruelty. I also look at certifying cosmetic agencies as a guide for ingredients that are allowed and not allowed in natural and organic products.
Here is my definition of natural cosmetics, natural body, hair and skin care products:
‘Natural cosmetics are made from raw materials sourced from nature, such as plants and minerals and from a renewable natural source. The raw materials go through the least amount of processing and the processing methods cause the least impact to humans, animals and the earth. Natural cosmetics assist to beautify and promote radiant body, skin and hair. Active nutrients known as nutraceuticals are supplements such as vitamins for the skin and are beneficial to the skin are sometimes used. No petroleum ingredients are used.’
I recommend creating a statement of what ‘natural’ means to you and your business. You can post this statement on your website or keep it in your mission statement and refer to it when deciding on ‘natural’ ingredients to use in your formulations.
What is your definition of natural cosmetics? Leave a comment below telling us what you think. I would love to hear from you.
Joan Morais is a natural cosmetic formulator, instructor, author and the owner of Joan Morais Naturals. Joan assists product makers on how to make high quality, stable and effective natural body, hair and skin care products for personal use and a product making business.